(CNN) – It was a Friday afternoon like any other. I had lunch, finished my cleaning and stopped at my local target for some recipes.
But on the way to the counter, I noticed a man in a black coat, carrying a rucksack with a sign saying, "I need a kidney for my wife, B +. 917-442-6202."  Unsure what to say, I quickly grabbed a photo. And then he was gone. Although I generally hate posting pictures of people online without soliciting their consent, I decided to share the picture on Twitter because his face was not in it – and because the message was so important.
Within a few hours later, my image of this man, whom I have since identified as Raymond Thompson, became viral. Celebrities like Zach Braff, Martina Navratilova and Evan Rachel Wood shared it. Actress Sarah Hyland, who recently announced that she had a second kidney transplant, shared the picture.
About a week later, the photo had 23,000 retweets and 35,000 likes.
Thompson, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife Mylen and her four-year-old daughter Rachel do not even have a Twitter account. But he knew something was going on when his phone was lit up with calls and texts from unknown numbers around the world. Strangers offered to give Mylen a kidney.
When I called Raymond, he recognized my name because other screenshots of my tweet had been sent to him.
Mylen met her future husband in an AOL chatroom in 2000, and together they came to love their pro wrestling skills. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with kidney disease.
"She called me at work and said," Babe, you have to come home right away. "She said," I can not feel my right side. It's numb, "Raymond told me," now she's going three hours on three […] days a week [dialysis]. There is a machine that filters your blood. It takes away a lot from you. "
The family members of Mylen and Raymond were tested, but not a match, Raymond was inspired by the story of Rob Leibowitz, who in Disney World wore a T-shirt titled" In Not Of Kidney "wore – a gambit that finally worked.
One thing Raymond wants to clarify is that his family will not do this. Set up a GoFundMe for medical expenses – they're covered between insuring his job and Medicaid is just the kidney you need.
"I've got a few people coming to me and trying to give me some money," he said, "I refuse that every time."
Recently, the Transferring Mylen's care to NYU's Langone Hospital, a move that could open the door to testing the many callers – some from as far away as Pakistan and Australia – to see if they match.
egg One of those people was Becca Joyner, who saw the tweet when she was shared by actress Patti Murin, who plays Anna in Broadway's Frozen. Joyner, (19659009) A County employee living in Farmville, North Carolina suffers from Crohn's disease and was recently operated on to remove part of her bowel.
"I was in the hospital more often than I can count on my hand," she said. Afterwards, I spent a week at the hospital, so I know what it's like, something just told me to see if you can help somehow. "
Raymond plans to get in touch with those who & # 39; I started in January. But even if a viral Twitter image causes Mylene to get kidney-free and dialysis, the Thompsons do not believe their job is done.
"The disease does not matter who you are," said Raymond. "I appreciate everyone who takes care of him, it means a lot to us to get the message out there."
"Sign up as an organ donor. There are so many people who actually need organs, especially the kidneys. You have two and can live with only one healthy. Just register. "
In fact, waiting for those who need a kidney transplant can take a long time, and of the nearly 100,000 people who were waiting for a kidney last year, only 20% found a match." United Network of Organ Sharing: Finding This Game took an average of three to five years.
One person who affected Raymond was I. Since our first meeting at Target, I signed up as a bone marrow donor. I made an appointment for blood donations.
And we both are at the same place Target shopping, it is not surprising that we are also neighbors, and we plan to have coffee after the holidays.